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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Action needed to save the NHS

THE shambles in the management of the Furness General Hospital maternity crisis that unfolded as last week’s column went to print was beyond belief.

EM Darren McSweeney
Darren McSweeney

Having only recently put paid to my ignorance of the way our current healthcare system is run; the display of chaotic mismanagement has done nothing to give me any confidence in the way our NHS is being administered.

Thankfully, last Tuesday, after a long day of waiting for a press release, which saw me repeatedly checking my email settings to make sure they were correct, the reversal of the temporary transfer of maternity services came through.

I had stood at the meeting days before and watched a heavily-pregnant woman break down in tears as she spoke – and I don’t ever want to see that again. The

decision came as a huge relief.

As the maternity campaign gained pace and then suddenly awoke the dormant campaigner within me, I have learnt a lot, and quickly, about the system.

I have to say that whilst it is in a phase of transition, some of which I have doubts about, I have been particularly impressed with the attitudes of the local GPs who are now forming the Clinical Commissioning Groups that effectively decide which services we are ultimately provided with.

It makes sense that these people, as genuine healthcare professionals, with the interests of the public at the heart of their vocation, should have a large say in what level of service the area needs.

The problems with the current NHS model date way back to the 1980s, when the management of hospitals was divorced from the clinical side – supposedly to allow clinicians to focus on healthcare and be freed from the red tape that was binding them.

This may appeared to have made sense back then, but over time the two functions were bound to diverge – the management battling with the financial challenges and the healthcare professionals trying to make advances in care.

As budgets became challenged and we headed into today’s world of struggle, double-dip and possibly triple-dip recessions then this split in the system reached breaking point and we have now end up with a healthcare system that no longer functions.

We have seen clear evidence of this last week with the publication of the Francis report, which highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients” at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009.

His report revealed reduced staffing levels, cuts and shortcuts and low morale, all directly leading to lower standards of care being delivered.

Hospitals now need to be put back in the hands of those who understand healthcare, not accountants.

There needs to be a complete review of funding. Most importantly, there must be a complete stripping out of the layer of upper management that has been allowed to grow to fight the financial challenges but has become a drain on the NHS itself.

If action isn’t taken, then we are witnessing the death of the NHS.

Have your say

Message from your troll
Your ignorance of my comment is appreciated.
Kind regards

Posted by Tony on 14 February 2013 at 10:51

Are you John Woodcock or Mandy Telford!

Posted by Tony on 12 February 2013 at 17:57

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